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Harper 'trying to build his majority on a lie,' Duceppe says

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe read the signatures on a 2004 letter to the governor-general signed by Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and himself during a rally on March 27, 2011, in Bois-des-Fillion, Que.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe used the word "lie" more than a dozen times Sunday as he railed against Stephen Harper's demonization of the type of parliamentary alliances the Conservative Leader himself once proposed.

"When Mr. Harper says the party that finishes second can't be prime minister, he's lying," Mr. Duceppe said. "When he says it's anti-democratic, it's the opposite of what he wrote in 2004. He's trying to build his majority on a lie."

The Conservatives have waged the first two days of their re-election campaign for the May 2 vote trying to provoke alarm among voters that the three opposition parties are planning to seize government, regardless of the election results.

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Mr. Duceppe clarified that he, too, would never be part of a formal coalition with the other parties, saying it would be "against nature" for the separatist party to be government ministers.

"And I don't think there's a party in Canada that would have us," Mr. Duceppe said.

In 2004, Mr. Duceppe, Mr. Harper and the NDP Leader Jack Layton prepared a letter to then-governor-general Adrienne Clarkson urging her to consider options other than calling an election, should Paul Martin's Liberal minority government fall.

The Bloc Leader scoffed at the Conservative campaign's contention that the alliance was simply designed to extract concessions.

Mr. Duceppe was speaking to about 200 party supporters in a suburban riding north of Montreal, long held by the Bloc. He had them in stitches, describing how one Conservative cabinet minister thinks the Flintstones was as documentary - a line coined by a Liberal adviser years ago.

Earlier one of Mr. Duceppe's candidates, Marie-France Charbonneau, said Mr. Harper is running an "extreme right" government - term associated in Quebec with extremists like former French nationalist leader Jean Marie Le Pen.

Mr. Duceppe said he spoke to the candidate, and suggested the description went too far. "Let's talk about it right: populist, retrograde, Tea Party-like? Certainly," Mr. Duceppe said.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

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